The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 6, 2013

N.Y. photojournalist, radio team honor former Kansas town

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — The ZIP code 66778 is no good anymore.

The only place Treece, Kan., still exists is on Google Maps — for the time being, at least.

Type it in and you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of a three-block by five-block settlement dotted with trees and homes and a city hall on the Kansas-Oklahoma line.

Zoom out and you’ll see large patches of white — scars on the landscape that speak to the mining past of the town and the chat piles that used to surround it.

Drive there and you’ll see nothing. The streets are gone, even the 100-year-old elm tree that Mayor Bill Blunk’s wife, Judy, cherished in their front yard at 435 Kansas no longer stands.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency began a buyout of the 91-year-old town, once a top supplier of lead and zinc ore during World War I and World War II. It was included in Tar Creek, the largest EPA Superfund site in the United States, an ironic result of the mining that spurred its early growth.

The federal government allocated $3.5 million to Treece and appointed a trust to manage the funds. The average appraisal of a home there was less than $20,000, which residents were to use to relocate.

By June 2011, the Blunks had moved their trailer 12 miles away, and by 2012, almost all of the remaining 105 residents had left, scattering to Galena, Baxter Springs, Columbus and other Four-State Area towns. Their homes were auctioned and hauled away. Heavy equipment operators tore out the streets and bulldozed down the trees, including the Blunks’ elm.

But what happened between the buyout and the abandonment wasn’t lost to time. Numerous times during those three years, a photojournalist and a team of radio documentarians came to Treece.

Dina Kantor and Chaela Herridge-Meyer, both residents of New York City, whose projects ran simultaneously but not in partnership, both said their purpose was to honor the former town of Treece and document the residents’ collective story. Both were funded through grants by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Their paths would cross eventually, and last Tuesday, the two presented their bodies of work together as a photo slide show accompanied by an audio narrative to a few dozen Treece residents who reunited at the Baxter Springs Heritage Museum.

Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Cherokee County audit shows $23,000 missing

    A special audit of the Cherokee County Treasurer’s Office for 2011 and 2012 shows more than $23,000 is missing from county bank accounts, Cherokee County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand said Friday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter